Tea, oh tea ! The main differences between teas.
Tea is tea right?
Well, not every tea is the same…
Green, black, white, oolong and each one has a unique aroma, taste and health proprieties, although they all come from the leaves of the same plant Camellia Sinensis, which is a shrub native to China and India that contains unique antioxidants called flavonoids.
Here some characteristics of the main tea types:
Black tea the most popular type of tea in the Western word. It is estimated that over three quarters of the population drink around a cup of this tea a day, hot or cold.
Some varieties of black tea that you may see everyday include “English Breakfast” and “Earl Gray” both very common in British tea culture.
Black tea is more oxidized than the other types. Oxidation is the process during which water evaporates out of the leaf and the leaf absorbs more oxygen from the air and get the characteristic dark brown color.
Black Tea generally has the most robust and intense flavor and the highest level of caffeine, (average 50 mg per cup) but the least levels of antioxidants, in particular catechins.
However, It doesn’t mean black tea runs low on health benefits, in fact the most impressive one is the capacity to boost heart health. It is actually proven that the consumption of black tea reduces the risk of stroke and lowers blood pressure.
Also, according to some studies it can also help to lower glycemic response reducing the risk of diabetes, thanks to polyphenols, theaflavins and thearubigins, all common in back tea.
Originated in China, but its production has spread worldwide, Green tea is a delicious type of tea available in literally thousands of varieties, overall characterized by a grassy, vegetal, and earthy flavor with sweet notes.
As of his Black brother, Green tea, comes from the Camellia plant, but unlike it, his oxidation process is stopped very quickly rapidly heating the leaves. This process gives the tea a generally mild and light aroma and such high levels of antioxidants compared with other teas.
As far as caffeine level, it can vary depending on the type/brand you choose, but as a general rule, Green Tea has less caffeine than Black Tea. (Average of 25 mg per cup). So, if you're looking to reduce your caffeine intake green tea is a good choice.
Green Tea is rich in antioxidants, particularly catechins: about 150 mg per cup, which is a lot compared to the average of 10 mg per cup of black tea.
The ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate) in particular, can help prevent many type of cancer, such as breast, lung, stomach and pancreatic cancer and the risk of neurological disorders/dementia.
Also, studies found that Green tea has the ability to boost your metabolism. According to some important researches, it is able to increase your “energy expenditure” (total kcals burned daily) and the amount of fat you are burning. So, it’s the most recommended tea during diets programs.
White teas are the most delicate and rare of all teas.
Minimally processed, and not oxidized, white tea is really appreciated for its delicacy and natural sweetness and it is unique in being entirely handmade. The immature leaves from the tea Camellia bush are handpicked fresh, and, being young, they contain little or no chlorophyll, therefore the pale silvery white color of this tea.
White tea has, on average, less caffeine than black and green ( 12-30 mg per cup) but almost the same type of antioxidants of green tea.
Well known for its anti-aging proprieties, it’s also great for boosting cardiovascular health, and for acting as natural anti-inflammatory, therefore it’s very beneficial among who suffers from arthritis and osteoporosis.
So, for its health powers you should try as a first alternative to green tea, you will be delightful surprised.
Not as common as black or green, Oolong is a tasty variety of tea made from the same plant as the other two, however unlike them, is partially oxidized and is made of not only leaves, but also stems and buds of the Camellia.
Very common in the Chinese culture, its flavors can vary widely depending on the style: from light, floral, gentle aromas to heavier woody others. Also, its color can range in from dark green to black.
Its caffeine level falls between the ones of green teas and black teas and the antioxidants content reflects both teas: it is great in catechins as green tea and contains theaflavins and thearubigins as black tea.
Therefore, it has interesting beneficial proprieties, such as cancer prevention, improving tooth and bones health and improving digestions.